Qatar investment group signs second deal on ex Chinese Prado y Malecon site with Habaguanex

In 2000 the buzz word was the “Chinese are coming” as Cuba´s Ministry of foreign Investment (MINVEC) signed deal after deal with Chinese groups. The Marina Hemingway Chinese restaurant being the first joint venture used frequently to court other such deals. Then there was the development of the sea front in the Marina Hemingway where the Chinese partners actually began digging trenches for massive sewage pipes for their new hotel. It all mysteriously stopped by 2001 and little information was available as to why. The biggest hoopla surrounded the 5 star Hotel for which a full joint venture was signed and approved by the then president Fidel Castro.  The building was demolished and large boards placed around the construction site. 12 months later nothing and all activity ceased. The boards were torn down and the corner was quickly surfaced and a small park installed to remove the eyesore.


Rumor has it that the Chinese companies wooed to Cuba in early 2000 realized that when a joint venture is signed all workers are paid as if they worked for a foreign company. Instead of the habitual 400 Cuba pesos (20USD) per month paid on 100% Cuban building projects in joint ventures salaries are paid by the foreign entity in CUC and the same non skilled laborer costs over 550 CUC (594 USD) payable to a state owned employment agency. The Chinese were allegedly not too pleased about this arrangement and abandoned their JV´s and projects.


Today the same Prado y Malecón site has now, nine years later, been signed to a new Joint Venture with Qatar state owned QATARI DIAR Investment Company to build an identical project presumably under similar conditions as the 2000 joint venture. Habaguanex S.A. headed by Eusebio Leal will be the Cuban partner a MINVEC official confirmed. The plan is to build a luxurious 5 star hotel on this amazing land site which overlooks the malecon, Morro Castle offering amazing views of the whole Malecon plus the entrance to Havana´s main port.

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